« Mike Emery: Enlightenment and the Uniform Field Concept | Main | Volcanism: Activity at the Hydrogen/Oxygen Interface »

PrintPrinter-friendly version

Science and Spirituality - Heisenberg's Mystical Experience?

Did Werner Heisenberg, who was one of the founders of quantum mechanics and who proposed the uncertainty principle, have a little known mystical experience that shaped his views of reality? The question is being brought forward by three Mexican researchers.


Werner Heisenberg - Image credit: Resonance - Journal of Science Education

Nikola Tesla was one of the giants of science of the last century, but he also had a fine grasp of spiritual matters, a fact documented in a recent article on this site, by Velimir Abramovich. That article, first published by Alexander Frolov in his New Energy Technologies magazine, was forwarded to me by a Mexican researcher, Jose Luis Lopez-Bonilla.

Viktor Schauberger is another one of the scientists in a wider sense of the word - he was called the water wizard and proposed a change in technology from explosion to implosion - who obtained their knowledge by linking in to a 'data bank' of a non-physical kind. See Technology Turned Inside-out and Schauberger Q and A - Making the Data Available.

It has long been my contention that if Physics wants to overcome the present state of impasse, it must embrace and investigate the phenomenon of "ultimate cause", the spiritual realities on which the manifest physical universe depends for its existence. Actually this site is turning out to be a place where that interface between science and spirituality comes into focus, at least in some of the articles - you will see them listed at the end of this one.

The piece that follows here has also been sent in by Jose Luis Lopez-Bonilla, who together with his co-authors is asking an interesting question about Heisenberg's life. Perhaps one of you readers can help them along with some pertinent information...

- - -


Maya and the Scientists

Could science be assumed to be like a kind of religion, recognizing that to research and decode the mechanisms of the material world would help to establish the purposes and ways of the Will pervading atoms, bodies and galaxies? Here you shall find what some men devoted to science have done and still doing.

Maya denotes the transient - and in consequence unreal - character of the phenomenic world. As Sri Aurobindo expresses:

"... then I saw the intense movement in Bombay like performed on a film, everything unreal!"

or in the Max Planck's words (Nobel Prize in Physics):

"We must assume that behind the world of phenomena exists a Superior Mind. This Mind is the Creator of the Universe",

in accordance with Luis Pasteur:

"In those supreme moments - in the deep of our soul - we have the feeling that the world should be more than a mere combination of facts due to a mechanical equilibrium".

From the above quotes it seems that the science will take a great step ahead when scientists experience the underlying reality of the researched world. This experience was lived by Werner Karl Heisenberg (Physics Nobel Awarded); in fact, Paul Brunton wrote that:

"Without learning, studying or practising yoga Heisenberg, a famous nuclear physicist and formulator of the Law of Indeterminacy, unwittingly entered a state that is a high goal for yogis, Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This happened at times at the end of the deepest abstract thinking about his subject. Thoughts themselves ceased to be active. He found himself in the Stillness of the Void. He knew then, and knows today, his spiritual being".

In 1929 Heisenberg visited India to give some conferences about quantum mechanics. Probably that magic and mysterious country left a deep impression on the soul of this german scientist, which some time later guided him to experience samadhi. Heisenberg died in 1976 in his house in Munich, victim of cancer f the kidney and bladder. Paul Brunton informed that

"When he was dying, Heisenberg said to von Weizsäcker, 'It is is very easy, I did not know this before'. At another moment he said, 'I see now that Physics is of not importance, that the world is an illusion'. He passed away in peace".

To understand the illusory nature of the physical world represented for Heisenberg the most decisive fact - even more important than the Nobel award - during his entire distinguished scientific career. It would be desirable that many more men and women dedicated to science could experience the sublime samadhi, learning in this way that the spiritual is of basic importance when studying the Universe.

W. Heisenberg and the Kevala Samadhi

The scientist Werner Heisenberg was one of the founders of quantum Physics, that is, of the study of dynamical laws that govern the microcosmos. This great discovery represented a strong shock for Heisenberg with respect to the 'reality' of the physical world. Heisenberg had to accept that things are up to us measuring them, in other words, it is necessary that an observer interacts with a system in order for the system to acquire reality.

What is stated above is totally compatible with the teachings of Emptyness (in Buddhism) and Maya (in Hinduism), in which the world of phenomena lacks its own integrity because it is just a mental construction; so, if there is no mind then there is no world. Albert Einstein disagreed with this interpretation. He always insisted on the idea that Nature has its own reality, independent of any observer. In 1939 Rabindranath Tagore talked to Einstein in New York and tried to explain to him that the world depends on the human factor, that the beauty and the truth are not independent of the human being; but Einstein never changed his concept about the reality of the Universe.

We would like to mention Heisenberg's second shock:

In the Yoga International magazine (Vol. 3, No. 6, 1994) it was published that Prof. Heisenberg had a spontaneous experience of kevala samadhi, which was also confimed by Paul Brunton and Paul Cash. It is not surprising that Prof. C.F. von Weizsäcker (we may remember that this important german scientist had, in the 1950's, a deep inner experience during his visit to Ramanasramam at Tiruvannamalai) and Heisenberg had invited several yogis to Germany, for example, Gopi Krishna, who explained them how to awake the kundalini shakti. In chapter 14, entitled "An experience in the Cosmic Consciousness" from the book "Autobiography of a Yogi", by Yogananda Paramahansa, you can find a beautiful poem in which is described the mystical experience of Samadhi.

The essential point is that in kevala samadhi the mind is turned off and the physical world disappears with its conceptions of space and time, the universe is perceived as an illusion without intrinsic reality, the ego is dissolved revealing the Oneness of Creation and the existence of the Cosmic Mind. When somebody experiences samadhi even only once, a deep internal transformation results that annihilates all patterns of "reality" of the world. Thus, it is not difficult to imagine the impact that the great experience of kevala samadhi had on Heisenberg. Surely this experience reinforced his concept of 'reality' that he introduced in the 1920's as the fundament of quantum Physics.

Samadhi is a state which anyone describes in very personal terms, so we are now trying to find some writings in which Heisenberg himself narrated his own mystical experience. This would be very basic for the establishing a close connection between science and spirituality.


Carina Aguilar-Chávez, Blanca E. Carvajal-Gámez, José L. López-Bonilla,

National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico city

Other e-mail: joseluis.lopezbonilla@gmail.com

- - -

See also other articles that touch on the interface between science and spirituality:

Mike Emery: Enlightenment and the Uniform Field Concept

Tesla's Creative Genius: Intuitive Knowledge predicted Networked Society

Of Auras and Cosmic Energy

Who Are We? - Discovering the Spiritual Self

Y-Bias and Angularity - How Pure Information Builds the Universe

Arrows of Time and the 'Wrath of God'

Time, Consciousness and Moments of Truth

Schauberger Q and A - Making the Data Available

Musings on Matter and Time

Technology Turned Inside-out: Implosion Instead of Explosion

Life & the Universe After the Copenhagen Interpretation
But I too, go beyond ordinary physics to the meaning of life and the universe. I reject the notion that science, as knowledge of nature, is divorced from life and the meaning of life. I see the universe developing and evolving, with every organism participating, constantly creating and recreating itself anew. It is a truly creative universe in that the future is not preordained, but spontaneously and freely made by every single being, from elementary particles to galaxies, from microbes to the giant redwood trees, all mutually entangled in a universal wave function that never collapses, but like a constantly changing cosmic consciousness, maintains and informs the universal whole.

PrintPrintable Version


Mary Sparrowdancer (in an email):

Beautiful! Einstein was unable to free himself of the bondage of Laws. This is perhaps because of Judaism which is a religion of Laws. Einstein did what anyone wearing a millstone of Laws would do - he created more laws. He then chained us down, because he could not transend a law that said nothing could go faster than the speed of light. A child who knows nothing about The Laws, however, will be able to tell us all that the mind, itself, can go faster than the speed of light, and does all the time. Is the mind "matter" - and what is "matter" other than compressed consciousness...

My reply:

Thanks for that comment, Mary,

which I took the liberty of appending to the article.

You are making a point that only a woman could get so clearly.

To which Mary then adds:

You are most welcome. I first experienced maya (or something) when I was about 5 or 6 years old. I was lying on the floor under a chair looking at the chair leg, and suddenly I realized there was no up, and no down, no in and no out, no big and no small - there was just "something" and it was through everything, and everything was a part of it. I was part of the chair leg. I tried to explain this to my parents, who then took me to a doctor. I didn't hear about "maya" until I was about 20.

In 1988, I went to visit the Hopi to see if they could explain the universe to me. They did. They told me, "Everything that happens is normal." I asked them to please explain this further. The teacher said, "If it happens, it must be normal." I then returned home, satisfied and normal at last.

Best to you - this was a great way to begin the day!

Sean McCutcheon says (by email):

There's a book called Quantum Questions, edited by Ken Wilber, that is a collection of mystical writings from virtually all of the founding contributors to quantum mechanics.

Quantum Questions (Ken Wilber)

I wrote to Sean McCutcheon:


I have put your message up as a comment to make it visible to others. Someone else also pointed to Wilber's book. Do you remember if there is a description of Heisenberg's experience in his own words?

A quick search inside the book on Amazon did not yield much of interest, and I don't have the book available.

His reply contains pertinent information, so here you go:

There are 5 essays by Heisenberg included in QQ but they don't include a description of his personal experience(s); they are philosophical essays on science and religion, arguing a position that is essentially mysticism of a roughly Platonic sort.

I tend to agree with what Heisenberg has to say -- but I like Schrodinger's essays more. His position was essentially Advaita Vedanta, expressed in more Western terminology.

Wigner's and von Neumann's essays on the observer effect and the irreducible role of consciousness (not collected in the book, no doubt because they disagree with the editor's views) are also worth reading.

I recommend the book. Nearly everything in it is of high quality, with the possible exception of Wilber's preface and introduction, which are erudite with respect to comparative religion but not so well informed with respect to the history of science. Wilber argues that quantum mechanics doesn't have non-materialist ontological implications, which is clearly false. Of course, he has said elsewhere that there haven't been any significant developments in quantum theory since 1925, which demonstrates his ignorance of the most philosophically significant experiments, including the many proofs that quantum superposition and the observer effect are physically real (e.g.,
(1) the double-slit experiment done with single electrons, atoms and molecules;
(2) working quantum computers;
(3) matter-wave interferometers)
and so is non-local connectivity (e.g.,
(1) the experimental verifications of Bell's Theorem;
(2) the routine use of entanglement in quantum information theory experiments;
(3) the now-commercially-available use of entanglement in quantum encrypted networks).



"If what we perceive as a miraculous event, contrary to the laws of nature, later appears as the quite natural manifestation of some reality we had not previously recognized, then we have to re-evaluate the whole situation in the light of the new knowledge. What had appeared to be contradictory and not worthy of belief or acceptance now becomes a set of new facts that can be reconciled with a larger body of knowledge."
- Thomas Banchoff (in a discussion of higher-dimensional space)

- - -

P.S. - Did you see this recent item in the science press?

It appears that plants have evolved mechanisms to make use of quantum superposition effects for greater energy efficiency in photosynthesis than would be possible classically. Apparently, the use of superposition for simultaneous, parallel operations (in parallel universes?) that we're just now learning to exploit for quantum computing has been used to advantage in similar ways by nature for a long time.

Quantum Secrets Of Photosynthesis Revealed

"This wavelike characteristic can explain the extreme efficiency of the energy transfer because it enables the system to simultaneously sample all the potential energy pathways and choose the most efficient one."

"Electronic spectroscopy measurements made on a femtosecond (millionths of a billionth of a second) time-scale showed these oscillations meeting and interfering constructively, forming wavelike motions of energy (superposition states) that can explore all potential energy pathways simultaneously and reversibly, meaning they can retreat from wrong pathways with no penalty."



"Still less can appearance and illusion be taken as identical. For truth or illusion is not to be found in the objects of [sensory] intuition, but in the judgments upon them, so far as they are thought. It is therefore quite right to say that the senses never err, not because they always judge rightly but because they do not judge at all."
- Immanuel Kant

Dear Sepp

the top place regarding the experience of non-duality goes to Ramana maharishi of arunachalam the 'gur' of Paul Brunton. He was a 'master, of Vedantic Hinduism. The link may be of use

Jose Luis Lopez-Bonilla sends in an extract from Christianity and World Religions by Hans Küng:


Not only pop musicians and film stars, but crowned heads and distinguished Western intellectuals have visited Indian gurus and ashrams. The German physicist and philosopher Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker tells us that, early in his career, ever since reading the sermons of the Buddha and the Chinese classics, he "felt more spontaneously at home in spiritual Asia than in Europe." This is how he relates his indescribable mystical experience at the grave of the Hindu saint Sri Ramana Maharishi in Tiruvannamalai: "Once I had taken off my shoes and stepped in front of the Maharishi's grave in the ashram, I knew in a flash: 'Yes, this is it.' The truth is, all my questions were already answered. Grouped in an affable circle, we were given a tasty lunch served on large green leaves. Afterwards I sat near the grave on the stone floor. The knowledge was there, and everything had happened in half an hour. I was still aware of the world around me, the hard seat, the humming mosquitos, the light on the stone. But in those rapid moments the onionskin-like layers that words can only hint at, 'You' - 'Me' - 'Yes,' had been broken through. Tears of bliss. Bliss without tears. - Very gently the experience brought me back to earth. I now knew the love that is in the meaning of earthly love." (The Garden of the Human, 1977, p. 595)

We are the Artists as well as the Art

April 23rd, 2007 by Elliott Maynard

John Wheeler, Physicist from Princeton and a colleague of Albert Einstein offered a unique perspective of our role in the process of Creation: “Now we learn from the quantum world that even to observe so minuscule an object as an electron we have to shatter the plate glass: we have to reach in there…So the old word observer simply has to be crossed off the books, and we must put in the new word participation.”

Wheeler goes on to suggest that the very act of observation is an act of Creation, and that it is our Consciousness that is doing the creating.

What is perhaps most unique about this viewpoint is that, to think of ourselves as “participants in Creation,” rather than simply passing through the universe during the brief period of a lifetime, requires an entirely new perspective and perception of what the Cosmos is, and just how it works.

…Source: Greg Braden, 2007 - The Divine Matrix: Bridging Time, Space, Miracles, and Belief

Amrit Sorli comments by email:

most interesting

enlightenment means also you discover the A-Temporal nature of the universe

see my article on the attached file

John O'M Bockris comments by email:

Your mentioning of Heisenberg made me think how fundamentally the Uncertainty Principle has sunk into American life.

I think much depends on the UP, even Quantum Mechanics, itself.

But is it true?

So what is the Proof?

So it seems the manifestation of matter is the rusults of unbalance as in an equation of opposites; i.e. up/down, in/out, hot/cold, happy/sad, ad infinatum. These opposits are fueled by the energy of thought, particularly feeling & desire. The force (magnatude) and direction (side of the equation) will always have a resultant; that is until balanced wherein the sum is zero, null, nothing, nonexistant.

When concious as not apart (as is a vector of opposites), one becomes the whole and sees or is any and all of the parts simultaneously. This then might be called enlightenment.

At age 33, in 1990, Kundalini left its indelible mark upon my neurology and may be of significant interest to you and the community at large. I believe that my pituitary and pineal glands have been affected such that I may now discharge, at will, what I perceive to be sizable blasts of some sort of neurological energy (electrochemical?). What is interesting is that a simple scalp EEG may show extraordinary findings.

Among other things, I think that this information is very relative to brain evolution and has the power to answer many unresolved questions, but who is doing such research? Would you happen to know who I could talk to?

In addition, I have experienced the 7 seals or chakras and possess a great deal of interesting or even pertinent information for anyone’s evolution, spiritual or otherwise. Do you suppose there is any interest in having a mystic occupy a teaching post and if so, who to speak with about this?

I look forward to your advice or direction and thank you in advance.

Brent Belchamber
Victoria, BC. Canada

Sepp, I'm trying to reach Sean McCutcheon, would you contact me? Thanks!

Dear sir,
I would like to inform you and your readers of my books, "History of Mysticism" and "Body And Soul", which may be found in full on my website: www.themysticsvision.com. I believe that you will find some pertinent answers to many of the questions regarding science and mysticism which you and your readers are discussing on your website. Many thanks.
Swami Abhayananda

Leave a comment


Receive updates

Email updates for new articles

Enter your Email